Do You Like To Plow? :: By Grant Phillips

My wife and I have been studying the Patriarchs lately (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), and Jacob really jumps off the page. He never really got his act together until he was a very old man.

Their (the Patriarchs) offspring wasted forty years in the wilderness from God’s judgment upon them, basically because they didn’t believe God.

As a child of God most High how much time have you wasted in your life by not being obedient to God’s will for your life? Don’t fret, I have asked myself the same question. Isn’t it embarrassing?

Jesus said, “… No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

Now that is a scary verse, if your plow is getting rusty. Some of us have plowed the whole field, and others of us have just plowed a few rows. Then there are those who took a long look at the plow, the mule and the field and decide it isn’t for them. The sun is too hot and the work too hard.

(I must parenthetically add at this point that salvation is never earned or kept by our sweat, but by Jesus’ blood. Also, only a legitimate Christian can produce sweat equity which will be rewarded at the judgment seat of Christ. The Biblical fact is that many have looked at what it cost to serve Jesus and decided they were not interested. Another example and Biblical fact is, only a true Christian can be water baptized. All others are dunked.)

If we really are a Christian, the Lord has assigned each of us a plow (if you will) and a section of the field He expects us to work. For most all of us that field is our family, neighbors and those we work alongside. How is your field looking? Hopefully, it’s close to being finished and with straight furrows.  That reminds me, have you noticed that the more you plow, the straighter the furrows?

Let me be clear that my Dad was a farmer, and he knew it well, but I have never been a farmer (a backyard gardener doesn’t qualify). I have never been behind a mule (or on a tractor for the more modern folks), but we all surely have enough sense to know what Jesus is talking about. He is simply saying that if we are not interested in His work, then we obviously are not interested in Him.

Do you want the job? You have to get hired first. So, how do you go about getting hired to plow for Jesus? There is a special application form that only contains one question? The question is, “Do you believe in Me?”

You see, that bunch wandering around in the desert for forty years didn’t believe. They claimed the Name, but that was all. They really didn’t believe. However, Caleb and Joshua believed, and they entered the Promised Land.

It’s the same today. Some really believe and some never do, even though they may claim the Name. Then there are those like Jacob. It takes them awhile to get there, but they finally come around, and believe. Those who believe can plow. Those who do not believe don’t get one (a plow that is).

So, if you have your plow, is it worn from use or rusty from non-use? I’m sure those with rusty plows are by now getting worried. So, let’s take a look at another Scripture verse.

Paul said, “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.” (Philippians 3:13-16)

“Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.” So often we waste so much time worrying about the past we get nothing done in the here and now. What does that do for our future? We continue to worry, because we did not take care of the present. What a vicious cycle!

If the Lord is leading you to serve Him in some way, my suggestion is “Just do it.” He may be calling you to be the best parent or spouse you can be. He may be calling you to the mission field. He may be calling you to be the hardest worker at your job site. He may be calling you to teach a Sunday school class. He may be calling you to be the kindest person in your neighborhood. He may be calling you to offer a smile to those who forgot how.

The point is every member of the true Church is to respond to the Head of the Church in what He wants us to do. My hand does what my mind tells it to do. The same is true with my foot. As our hand responds and obeys our head, we should respond to Christ as the Head of the Church.

Have you wasted a lot of time … perhaps years? Put it behind you and start now, right now. The future will be no different than the past until we change the present.

Going back to Philippians 3:13-16 the apostle Paul said, “… reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal.” When plowing behind that mule the farmer wants his furrows to be straight. To do so, he sets his eyes on something at the other end of the row and aims directly toward it. When he is finished his furrows will be straight. When we set our eyes upon Jesus Christ, not deviating to the left or right, our spiritual furrows will be straight, and we will be in harmony with, “the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Our God is not looking for excuses to beat us over the head. He knows we are but clay. He is on our side! Start today, and just follow His lead. You will wonder why you waited so long, and you will be free of the guilt of having a rusty plow. When you dig that plow down in the dirt, it will take no time at all until all the rust is gone. Pick up you plow today, and today will be the first day of many happy days to come.

I recall my Dad saying that when he was a boy he would have sold the whole farm for fifty cents. Guess how he felt about it as a grown man. He loved it. You will too.

Grant Phillips

Email: grantphillips@windstream.net

Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com

Rapture Ready: http://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html

 

Let’s Make A Deal :: By Grant Phillips

Has anyone other than me tried to strike up a bargain with God? Surely, I pray I’m not the only one.

One thing I do not like is nausea followed by regurgitation. (I started to use the word “vomit” or “puke,” but thought they might be too crass.)

I was a teenager playing sandlot softball with my buddies on the church lot, when I was attempting to catch a ball batted to me in the outfield. I also had a big wad of chewing tobacco in my mouth. You guessed it. While backing up and looking up for the ball, I swallowed a mouthful of amber juice. I had not used chewing tobacco before, and was hoping the stories were not true.

Just a few minutes later, we were called inside for our weekly RA (Royal Ambassadors) meeting at the church. Before I got to the meeting room, I had to make a detour to the restroom.

I broke out into a cold sweat that made my knees buckle. I can’t even describe the horrors going on in my stomach. I noticed a mirror in the restroom and for some reason I looked and saw a young teenager as white as number 96 typing paper. I never threw up, but I must have turned every color one can imagine (‘green’ really stands out).

One of my buddies called for me to come to the meeting. I was late. I groaned, “Go away!” Then I talked to God. No, I begged. I prayed the most humble of pleading prayers for Jesus to make me well NOW! I was rolling out the promises to God if He would just take it all away. I eventually recovered but missed the meeting. I can’t remember to this day if I caught the ball. I remember all the rest though.

Another time I was an adult, married with one child. We had bought some fried chicken and brought it home. That night … well here we go again. Let’s make a deal sweat Jesus! I was so sick from regurgitating; I had what we call around here, ‘dry heaves.’ Again, the promises flowed from my mind to God, “Make me well and I’ll serve you forever.” That is one night I thought for sure I would never make it through the night. Did I keep my promises either time? No.

I can think of many other times that I have tried to bargain with God, and if you will be honest, I would say you can think of a few yourselves.

Have you ever tried to bargain with God over a sickness, or a marriage problem, or a test, or a lousy job, or “pick your poison.”

How many have tried to bargain with God over salvation? Most people I have met have been here. We even try to bargain with God over sin. “Yeah, yeah God I know what the Bible says, but does that really apply to today?”

The one thing that mankind cannot seem to get through our thick skulls is, God says what He means and means what He says.

He tells us there is only one way we can be saved from judgment. That one way is through His Son, Jesus Christ. (John 14:6)

He tells us that if we ask anything in His name, He will do it. (John 14:13-14) I pray we understand that we must ask with what is in agreement with His Word. This is where knowing a few verses or a few Biblical facts don’t help. We must be able to see the whole picture of what God is saying in His Word.

Abraham’s grandson Jacob was a real rascal. He dishonestly obtained his brother Esau’s birthright, then he and his mother Rebecca tricked his father Isaac to give Esau’s blessing to him (Jacob). It took Jacob a long time to grow up, even after attending Uncle Laban’s school of deceit. Before I go off on a tangent, allow me to stick with one subject concerning Jacob at this time. Jacob tried to bargain with God, just as we have many times. So we pick up with Jacob’s story when he is running from Esau, who vowed to kill him.

JACOB RUNNING FROM ESAU, MEETS CHRIST

Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran. He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place. He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. (Genesis 28:10-12)

Jacob is a grown man who has just swindled his brother for the second time and is now running for his life. He will never see his mother Rebecca again. He is running from Esau his brother, and then meets God in a dream. He sees Him as a ladder and the ladder is representative of Jesus Christ. Why is the ladder specifically Jesus, the second person of the Godhead? Again, Jesus made it clear that no one can come to the Father except through Him. (John 14:6)  God speaks to him in the dream.

GOD’S PROMISE TO ABRAHAM AND ISAAC REPEATED TO JACOB

And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. “Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”(Genesis 28:13-15)

God repeated to Jacob the same promise He made to Abraham and Isaac. It is very detailed.

  • The land on which you lie on is yours and your descendants
  • Your descendants will be as plentiful as the dust of the earth
  • You and your descendants will spread outward in all directions
  • You and your descendants will bless all the families of the earth
  • God is with him
  • God will keep him wherever he goes
  • God will bring him back to his land
  • God will not leave him until everything promised him is delivered

Don’t you think God is being very specific when speaking to Jacob? Sounds pretty clear to me.

God has made specific promises to all mankind, which of course includes us today.

  • We can only be saved through Him
  • When He saves us He will keep us
  • All die apart from the Rapture
  • He is coming back again
  • After death is judgment if we are not His sheep

These are just a few examples among many other promises of God. Are we going to continue doing as Jacob? First of all, let’s see what Jacob did after he heard these promises that were given first to his grandfather Abraham, then to his father Isaac and then repeated again to him.

Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the LORD will be my God. “This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.” (Genesis 28:20-22)

Notice carefully what he is really saying.

  • “IF” God will be with me
  • “IF” God will keep me
  • “IF” God will give me food and clothing
  • “IF” God will return me to my father’s house safely
  • “THEN” the Lord will by my God
  • All God gives me I will give a tenth

Wasn’t he listening! Better yet, are we listening! This sounds just like me (and you). “IF you will do this God, “THEN” I’ll do this.” God has given us specific promises. We can play “let’s make a deal” if we like, and try to bargain with Him, but God has already said exactly what He wanted to say and it will not be changed.

Allow me to provide a few other examples.

  • God says marriage is sacred. There is no bargaining.
  • God says homosexuality is a sin. There is no bargaining.
  • God says all sin will result in judgment, unless we come to Him through His Son Jesus Christ in repentance. There is no bargaining.

There are many sins, but only one will send us to the lake of fire for all of eternity, and that sin is rejection of Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

The point of this entire article is, we cannot bargain with God. Most everyone in our society, Christians and non-Christians alike, are consistently trying to make a deal with God, whether they realize it or not.

We have become so corrupt; many in our society would feel right at home in Sodom and Gomorrah. Others would turn and look back as did Lot’s wife when God destroyed those cities. Our society is like an apple, rotten from the skin to the core. We are controlled by politicians, the media and Hollywood, and upheld by corrupt religion.

The few who remain in this country who actually believe God’s Word and accept It, will be more and more hated by those allowing the sins of this world to corrupt their souls.

Are true Christians without sin? Of course not, but our sins are covered by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. He paid the price for our salvation, and we serve Him. We fail Him often, but it grieves our hearts when we do.

However, those who are not His sheep enjoy their rebellion (sins) against a Him. They have thrown off the notion of a Holy and Righteous God and revel in their “independence” of Him, just as King Belshazzar and his court. Judgment by death claimed Belshazzar’s soul that very night and judgment is just as assuredly coming our way.

God does not make deals. We cannot bargain with God. We need desperately to get our act together. Just because “everybody’s doing it” doesn’t void what God has said.

God loves mankind and wants to save all who will come to Him in true repentance. He will not turn any away who truly decide to follow Him in faith.

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” (John 6:37)

Grant Phillips

Email: grantphillips@windstream.net

Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com

Rapture Ready: http://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html